June 18, 2024

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley looks on during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

SadNews: 49ers duo-mistake that need urgent intervention; pertaining their defense and Agency

The 49ers defensive coordinator decision could potentially be costly for their Super Bowl window.

The San Francisco 49ers quieted the rumors last week when promoting defensive pass game coordinator and nickels coach Nick Sorensen to defensive coordinator, looking to fill the void internally after going external last offseason with Steve Wilks.

In addition to promoting Sorensen, the 49ers hired former Los Angeles Chargers Brandon Staley as a defensive specialist, which came after they interviewed him for their defensive coordinator vacancy.

Last season, after a number of interviews, the 49ers ultimately bypassed all of their internal options in favor of former Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks, who brought a defensive back background to San Francisco, which was a first at the defensive coordinator position.

While the 49ers saw an uptick in interceptions generated, the defense struggled as the season came to a close, which carried into the playoffs until the Super Bowl.

49ers hire Nick Sorensen as defensive coordinator and Brandon Staley to  prominent role -

In fact, it felt like the 49ers were going to move off Wilks regardless of the outcome of the Super Bowl, speaking to the disconnect between him and Kyle Shanahan, as well as with the players.

Now, the 49ers have done a good job of moving on when a fit, be it with a player or a coach, isn’t working, which is what they did with Wilks.

But, they made a mistake at defensive coordinator last offseason, and their hiring of Sorensen last week only amplifies the mistake.

What the 49ers should’ve done

Overall, the biggest mistake was not promoting Sorensen last offseason.

If Shanahan had the confidence to go with Sorensen this offseason, the 49ers head coach should’ve made the decision last year, understanding that the team essentially had a two-year window with their current roster to contend for a Super Bowl.

That way, Sorensen would’ve had the same acclimation period as DeMeco Ryans, allowing him to grow year-to-year as he adjusted as a playcaller.

Unfortunately, in choosing Wilks, Shanahan burned one of those two years, while placing even more pressure on a first-time playcaller to get the job done. On top of that, there’s another face in the building who actually has playcalling experience that could overtake that role at any team.

Now, the world isn’t crashing down, and Sorensen could very well thrive in his new role with the 49ers defense, helping them back to their original levels.

But, the circumstances around the past two years have certainly made that job more difficult, placing him in a tough situation to succeed.

Report: 49ers elevate Nick Sorensen to defensive coordinator, hire Brandon  Staley to 'prominent role' - On3

49ers Won’t be Heavily Active in Free Agency

Free agency is one of the best phases of the NFL offseason. It is a time where a team can improve themselves with either a big name free agent or a handful of key role players. Unfortunately in the case of the San Francisco 49ers, this year’s free agency period has a chance to be their most bland one yet. I do not expect the 49ers to be heavily active in free agency. It all starts with their salary cap space, or lack thereof. As it stands, they are over $3 million above the cap, so they have some work to do to get under it to comply with league rules. Until they do that, their salary cap space will be considered a variable.

However, I don’t see how they will manage to free up a ton of cap space to be moderately active in free agency. They will likely end up getting enough space to re-sign a few of their own free agents and bring in a few outside role players. But I don’t see how it is possible for them to get a big splash in free agency or even a handful of solid role players. Besides, the 49ers view themselves as a strong team already and rightfully so. The reason their cap space is up against it right now is because they do have a great array of talented players. That means they don’t have too many needs to fixate on during free agency. Really, their only needs are offensive line, defensive end, and cornerback. That needs to be mostly addressed via the draft in April.

The 49ers will likely add a couple players at one or two of those positions of needs as contingencies. What the 49ers need is for their young players already rostered to blossom next season. Finding fixes in free agency is not meant to be for them in 2024.

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